Here’s the deal, if you haven’t heard this blow up in the last couple of days. It first kicked off around midday on the 5th December when it was discovered on Wikipedia that all users in the UK were being passed through a transparent proxy; allowing content to be filtered, in this case the Virgin Killer article and image.
The Internet Watch Foundation is deeming that this image should be blocked in the UK because, after receiving a report from a member of the public, they decided it was child pornography. Whether it is or isn’t is up for debate (though personally I think there’s no way in hell it qualifies), but what really pisses me off is that they don’t even apply their own rules across the board.
The following screenshot was taken from my O2 phone (because thankfully we’re not filtered here at uni):
On this same phone, the Wikipedia article mentioned is blocked - if you’re interested, I get an “HTTP/1.1 403 Forbidden” error. I guess the only message I have to share is that censorship does nothing.
There’s a good conversation from BBC Radio 4’s Today programme between David Gerard (a Wikipedia contributor) and Susan Robertson of the IWF included below, originally here. There’s a massive discussion on Wikipedia about it, and Ian Betteridge has one of the better articles.
By Michael Henley on 09 December 2008 at 00:49:
“Please note that "child pornography”, “child porn” and “kiddie porn” are not acceptable terms. The use of such language acts to legitimise images which are not pornography, rather, they are permanent records of children being sexually abused and as such should be referred to as child sexual abuse images."
By their own admission they are dealing with cases of child abuse. This is obviously not one of those cases. There is the bigger picture - that our internet is being censored. This is something we berate China for and then it turns out that the very same is happening to us. Somebody give me an ISP that just provides the service with non of the shite on top, charge me twice a much a month and see me pay it.
By Alex Muller on 09 December 2008 at 01:23:
You’ll find this thread in the “Boycott Internet Censors” group on Facebook useful :)